4 year old temper tantrums normal
Big Kid Big Kid Discipline

4 Year Old Temper Tantrums Normal

The 4 Year Old Temper Tantrums Normal behaviour is very difficult to parent. Although Temper tantrums are very normal for toddlers, it is hard to manage a toddler when they are in a rage.

However, temper tantrums are still an appropriate way of expression and learning. It’s a simple way for them to vent their aggression and is an important part of their developmental journey.

Related: Why Is My 4 Year Old So Angry And Aggressive

4 Year Old Temper Tantrums Normal Behaviour

Most toddlers start these temper tantrums around 18 months although some can start earlier. They can last for a few years but tend to slow down after the age of 4.

If your child is showing extreme signs of temper tantrums after this stage it could be a sign of a more serious behavioural problem

Temper Tantrums are emotional outburst and disruptive behaviour that is uncontrollable. Some signs of a temper tantrum include:

  • Crying,
  • hitting,
  • spitting,
  • kicking,
  • throwing
  • biting

These are all forms of behaviour your toddler will show once they have reached the peak of their tantrum.

These types of emotional displays are a normal way for a toddler to show their expression and vent their feelings. They are developing developmental and emotional triggers that will later help them express themselves, as they get older.

4 Year Old Aggressive Tantrums

Sometimes your 4 year old can throw very agressive tantrums. This can come as a shock especially when they are normally very behaved.

Unfortunately, some toddlers are better at communicating their expressions than others. If your toddler is not able to express through language their wants and needs they may throw a tantrum.

This is frustrating for them as they have developed the necessary cognitive ability to understand what they want but just not the vocabulary to express it effectively to you.

Expression is the most common reason for 4 year old tantrums and not listening.

4 Year Old Tantrums and Meltdowns

It is important to note the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown.

At 4 years old your child is usually very capable of expressing their everyday needs. ‘Mummy I need to Wee’ or ‘Mummy I want a cold drink’ are very clear requests.

A Meltdown is a longer tantrum and happens when your child feels overwhelmed.

This can happen indoors or outdoors and usually occurs when there is a sensory overload or a sudden rush in stimulation. Tantrums can last up to 10 minutes but meltdowns can last a lot longer and will need a more proactive approach to get your child back to normal again.

3 Reasons for 4 Year Old Tantrums

1. Power Tantrums

This occurs when your toddler is struggling to show independence and wants to be in control of her situation. For example, she wants to wear her red shoes, but one shoe is lost and it’s too late to find them. She’ll insist that you should find them before you leave or she may through a tantrum.

2. Emotional Tantrums

This type of tantrum occurs when your toddler is dealing with emotional overload. Anger, frustration, sadness, guilt are good examples. They do not yet have the psychological ability to handle them effectively so resort to throwing a tantrum instead.

3. Attention Tantrums

These occur when your child is in desperate need for attention and is unable to get attention from you in any other way. This frequently happens when you are busy, distracted or just simply tired.

Your toddler will try to get your attention by playing, pulling or calling you and if they are unable to get the necessary attention fast you could find yourself in the middle of an attention tantrum.

Children crave attention and if they are unable to get the attention they desire with positive behaviour they will resort to disruptive behaviour.

4 Year Old Temper Tantrums Normal Guidelines

4 year old temper tantrums are normal so let’s discuss the 5 best ways to deal with them

Basis Needs

Are their basic needs been met? Hungry, Thirst, Tiredness, Stimulated? Taking care of these basic needs For the vast majority of time will avoid most tantrums effectively

Routines and boundaries

Children crave familiarity and routines. They are very habitual and love the idea of knowing what will happen and when. This level of accuracy and certainty is an integral part of their psychological development and helps improve their behaviour.

The less stressful your child feels the more they feel in control and the fewer chances of power or emotional tantrum.


Most children have very small clues or triggers they display just before a tantrum occurs. Try to figure out what these are.

For example, does your child tend to throw a tantrum just before their nap or just after? Do they throw it just after watching tv or just before mealtimes?

These can show that they need a bit more attention and monitoring at particular times of day. i.e. throwing tantrums before a long nap indicates that they are already tired and should have an early bedtime routine.

Talk About Tantrums

Try and get your child talking about what tantrums are, the effects of them and how to solve them. Your child is constantly learning about himself and the environment around him.

It’s important for them to understand that they are in fact in power of their emotions and the more you focus on this independence they higher the chance you’ll be able to help them cope in the future

Calmness Always Wins

It’s important to stay calm in the face of a HOT tantrum.


Imagine being in the middle of a busy shipping centre, in the middle aisle and all of a sudden you toddler wants a toy you left at home. They throw an instant tantrum with yelling, hitting, kicking and even biting.

Everyone around you is looking with judgemental eyes. It is very easy to get frustrated, be aggressive and try to handle the situation in a non child-friendly way.

Children mirror parents action and by doing this you are demonstrating that aggressive behaviour is a normal way to express yourself. Also, you getting angry wont solve the problem any faster.

Instead, try to be calm but stern.

Say: “Please stop kicking as it hurts me, we will get your toy as soon as mummy pays for all this shopping’

Try not to pay too much attention to the tantrum as you will be giving attention to it and thus affirming the behaviour. Instead, distract or delay the tantrum.

Pull out a healthy snack, find another toy in the store for your toddler to hold or just start signing their favour song.

Children are easily distracted and by the time she remembers you’ll be long gone on your way back home.

Learning how to deal with 4 year old aggressive tantrums is about finding the right set of discipline techniques that work for your child. Every child is different but patience and calmness will always work in your favour.

Ava Miller

Mom of 2 who enjoys blogging, travelling, cooking and spending time with Taylor & Olivia

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